I have two elderly parents that live 2 miles down the road from me. My dad is basically bed bound. He cannot walk, cannot do anything without extreme assistance, he has a catheter, wears a diaper. but his mind is still good. My mother is ok, but cannot take care of my father alone without help. She is overly dramatic about everything in life -- has been since I was a child. She is a hypochondriac and I don't particularly like her. I have been a stay home mom for 22 years. My youngest child is a senior in high school and my oldest lives out of town and has a job, my middle child is in college out of town. my youngest will be going to the same college next year as her sister out of town. I have been waiting for 22 years for my life to start.
I am the oldest child and my husband is the oldest child in his family. We are both of course overly responsible and have been the children our parents could count on for our whole lives. My brother and my sister live in town with my parents. My brother helps out partially, my sister lives on the other side of town not convienent to my folks house and both of them work. I don't work. I get lots of phone calls from my parents. I have workers over there, but I am the one who pays their bills, takes them to doctors appointments, goes to the grocery store for them.
I am SICK to death of it. I CANNOT take it anymore. I just freak out everytime the phone rings because I just DO NOT want to be responsible for them at all anymore. My parents have done nothing for me since I have been 20 years old and I got married to my husband that I am still married to. We have never borrowed money, never had to live with them, never needed them to cosign on a loan, They barely even babysat for me because I pretty much gave up my entire life to devout to being a mother. I have a great relationship with all my kids and am truly grateful that I was lucky enough to have a husband that worked hard to take care of us so that I was allowed to be a full time wife and mom.
But, I have been waiting for my kids to get grown up so that I would finally have MY LIFE. And now my parents need help. I don't really like them. They don't really know that because I have always been a good daughter and showed them respect even though I don't agree with them on most things.
But, I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown because I just don't want to have to be responsible for them. This causes lots of problems in my marriage. My husband gets mad when I get called to go get them food when their workers aren't over there. It is always when my family is home or my husband is home from work. We get in a lot of arguements that I am so sick of having because I love my husband and my kids more than life itself. i want to be able to go and visit my son who lives out of town and go and see my daughters at college.
What I really want is to run away from home. I want to pack all my stuff and leave this town and reclaim my life for me and my husband. I want us to not have to deal with any old people. both of his parents are also alive but are younger than my parents because my parents were old when they got started with a family. I am 47 and my dad is 81 and my mother is 77.
But I cannot run away because my husband is self employed and has a good business here that we need to help get our last two kids through college. He gets angry when I say I want to run away because he has worked for 25 years and says he shouldn't have to give up his livelihood because of them. Which is true.
I guess I want to know how to remove myself even further from the situation. I feel very guilty like I should be helping them. I don't know why. I don't know how to extract myself from the situation more than I already have. I keep telling him that we need to have a talk with them to tell them how I feel and how it is ruining our marriage and our life. He tells me he will talk to them but that I have to be prepared for him to say everything how he really feels.
I just feel like if something different doesn't happen that I am really going to lose my mind. I don't know how to resolve the issue between the two of us. I want him to be happy with me not angry at me all the time. I want us to start being a couple again and since our role has been mainly as parents and we haven't really worked on our marriage like we should have over the last 22 years since we have had kids. We basically put ourselves on the back burner for them and I am really tired of being on the back burner of my life. I deserve some freedom and happiness.
I don't know why I posted. I just needed to vent to other people who understand because they are dealing with selfish, demanding parents also. I just feel so despondent most of the time. I just want to control my life instead of my life being lived in servitude to other people.
Also, get your mother to keep a list of what needs to be done, scheduled, etc. This way one of you might be able to limit to one phone call a week to set up maintenance work, bill paying, scheduling dr visits. You could simply have her billssent to you, put the regular ones on auto pay. And if mom says oh no, I don'twant to do that, point her to another siblingbto manage this stuff. You are not a doormat!
Hopefully you and husband can work on your relationship, maybe counseling would help.
Then tell your parents what you have decided. Stick to it. If you've decided to visit once a week, don't go over there three times, unless there is an emergency. If you've agreed to arrange transportation then don't get cornered into taking them yourself because they forgot to tell you ahead. "Sorry. I guess you'll have to reschedule."
You can see if your sibs are willing to rotate a schedule with you, if you would like that. But you can't really insist on that with them. They have the same right you do to decide how much, if any, they are willing to help your parents.
Your parents need to know how much/little they can count on you for, so they can be realistic in decisions about how much in-home help they need, or about care centers. They do not need to know, in my opinion, why you've decided to limit your help. Nothing would be served to tell mom she is a hypochondriac drama queen and you don't particularly like her. And it should be you that tells them, not your husband.
I am very sorry that you have waited for 22 years for your life to start. When the children leave the nest we all embark on a new phase of our life. But many of us considered the years we devoted to raising children to be an important and meaningful part of our lives, and we also managed to carve out some "me" time and some "us" time with our spouses.
I put "all" in inverted commas because saying no should be simple - and it isn't. Don't row with your husband about it, ask him to help you say No. I LOVE PS's idea of a shared schedule, great idea - you would have to be ruthless about it with your siblings, though; because when they call and say I have to work late, I have to do a presentation that day, boo-hoo poor me, can you just - … again, you'll need to say NO. I can also (with my nasty suspicious mind) hear your mother saying "oh we don't like to bother John or Jane, he/she's so busy at work…"
Yeah. Well, you're busy with your life too, and your life is just as important.
I don't mean to be harsh on your parents. They do need help, they should be helped. But that doesn't make it your job to look after them, on your tod, at the expense of your marriage, your mental health and your own fulfilment. Harden your heart, and stick to what's fair. Best of luck.